Men's soccer brings youth, enthusiasm to exhibition opener

San Jose, Calif.----- After practicing against each other at least three times a day for nearly two weeks, the 2006 San Jose State men's soccer team will finally see a different colored jersey on the field.

The Spartans will host Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday, August 18 in Spartan Stadium at 7:00 p.m. Being an exhibition, the match is just what the doctor ordered for a squad that includes 19 players who will suit up for the Spartans for the first time.

"We set up these exhibition games because we are young and inexperienced," said head coach Gary St. Clair. "We need to see them play in a game instead of just scrimmaging against each other.

With such a young group, St. Clair expects to play each injury-free player against the Otters.

"This team is extremely unsettled right now with only four starters from last season back, which means seven of our starters will be brand new," said St. Clair after Thursday afternoon's practice session. "I'm looking to get our team as settled as possible after tomorrow night, and get a good sense of what our team can and cannot do."

Practice is one thing, but being able to do the same things when the bright lights come on is clearly another.

"We have to get these kids used to playing in Spartan Stadium, and playing in an exhibition where there isn't as much pressure," said St. Clair. "We just need experience."

The experienced players for the Spartans are the four starters coming back from last season, including senior midfielder and captain Daniel Perez. Perez and the other veterans will be asked to be coaches on the field as well.

"As veterans, we have to transfer all of the energy and show what it takes to play at this level, especially to the younger guys," said Perez, who has started on and off for the past three years.

"We have to try and set the pace. It is our job as the older guys to set the example on the field. Hopefully, we can show them how to compete at this level tomorrow night. We also want to get off on the right foot."

Cal State Monterey Bay, a member of the NCAA Division II and California Collegiate Athletic Association, is coached by Artie Cairel. The Otters posted a 10-9-1 overall record in 2005.

The Spartans will play a second and final exhibition game on Friday, August 25, hosting Cal State East Bay at 7:00 p.m. inside Spartan Stadium. San Jose State then opens the regular season, also at Spartan Stadium, on Sunday afternoon, August 27, hosting Cal State Fullerton of the Big West Conference at 1:00 p.m.

Tickets for the Cal State Monterey Bay exhibition are $5 for general admission, $4 for faculty/staff, and $3 for youth (12 and under) and seniors (65 and over). Youth aged 12 and under and wearing a soccer jersey, are $1. San Jose State students with a valid Tower ID card will be admitted for free.